Library program hooks ‘Big Fish’ author

by Michael McNulty
European Regional Library Support Center

Army Europe Libraries is resuming its Conversations literary discussion series in May with author and illustrator Daniel Wallace, best known for his 1998 novel “Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions,” the basis for Tim Burton’s 2003 film “Big Fish.”

Mr. Wallace will visit eight garrison libraries across the region, offering creative-writing workshops along with literary discussions and readings of his work. Mr. Wallace’s tour, supported by Installation Management Command-Europe Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, begins May 12 at the U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza, Italy, Library and concludes May 21 at the library on U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder, Germany. The events are free and open to U.S. servicemembers and their families.

Christina Kruger, a librarian at the European Regional Library Support Center in Heidelberg, oversees the Conversations series and has been planning for Mr. Wallace’s visit for several months.

“I’m really excited to be able to bring over someone who is not only a great author but a great teacher,” Ms. Kruger said. “I think this program will offer a lot to our Soldiers and family members”

Author Fannie Flagg called Mr. Wallace “one of the most imaginative and original writers of our times,” while Publisher’s Weekly Magazine wrote that Mr. Wallace’s “humor and appreciation of ordinary people, demonstrates (an) extraordinary originality, craftsmanship and charm.”

Mr. Wallace has published more than three dozen short stories in venues such as “The Yale Review,” “The Massachusetts Review” and “The Best American Short Stories.” His work has been translated into 18 languages.

Mr. Wallace has also published two illustrated children’s books: “Elynora” and “O Great Rosenfeld.” And, Ms. Kruger noted, Mr. Wallace is a gifted illustrator whose drawings have appeared, among other places, in the L.A. Times and Italian Vanity Fair.

A native of Birmingham, Ala., Mr. Wallace now teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Mr. Wallace’s writing workshops for the garrisons will begin at 5:30 p.m. on the day of each visit. After a short break at 6:30 p.m., a reading and discussion will begin at 7 p.m.

“Aspiring writers or anyone interesting in learning more about the craft of writing are encouraged to attend the writing workshops,” Ms. Kruger said.

Places And Dates Of Events Are:

• USAG Vicenza: May 12

• USAG Brussels: May 13

• USAG Stuttgart: May 14

• USAG Grafenwöhr: May 15

• USAG Ansbach: May 18

• USAG Heidelberg: May 19

• Landstuhl Library: May 20

• USAG Baumholder: May 21

The times, dates and locations of each event are also listed on the Army Europe Libraries Web site at

For more information on Mr. Wallace, visit his official Web site at

And for more information about the Conversations series, call Ms. Kruger at 370-6678 or 06221-57-6678.